Mother Teresa on the Meaning of Life

Few are the people whose contribution to humanity — be it work for peace, or freedom, or equality, or some other core human value — fills the soul with boundless gratitude for their very existence. Mother Teresa (August 26, 1910–September 5, 1997) — one of the greatest women of our time — is one such blessing of a human being. She, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, a canonized saint, and a patron of the poor and the sick, has made a supreme art of alleviating suffering in all its manifestations through her charity and missionary work in Calcutta and around the world.

In the altogether rewarding and immensely enriching Mother Teresa: an Authorized Biography, author Kathryn Spink does an excellent job in her sturdy account of the saint’s life. “In her seventies,” Spink notes in the book, “she wrote her own resume of her philosophy of life.” These words were inscribed on a poster hanging in a hospice Mother Teresa and her sisters opened in the very heart of New York City on December of 1985. The home was called “Gift of Love.”

Doves in the Sky by Henri Matisse.

THE MEANING OF LIFE
by Mother Teresa

Life is an opportunity, avail it.
Life is a beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is costly, care for it.
Life is a wealth, keep it.
Life is love, enjoy it.
Life is mystery, know it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, brace it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is life, save it!
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

The wise Indian spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran has put it beautifully when he said that “there is no instrument of change more powerful than a well-lived life,” and nothing speaks more to this truth than Mother Teresa’s Biography.

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